Congratulations Leah Rupp Smith

Leah Rupp Smith


Congratulations to Leah Rupp Smith, a 3L at Brandeis School of Law, on winning the 2012 KBA Writing Award.

"My submission is titled "Standing Your Ground: The Happy Medium Buried in Kentucky's Common Law." It focuses on Kentucky's Stand Your Ground statutes enacted in 2006 as compared to the similar law in Florida, which, of course, has been in the national spotlight following the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin in February 2012.

Kentucky common law, later codified in the state's pre-2006 Penal Code, already provided that a "Kentuckian never runs." Gibson v. Commonwealth, 34 S.W.2d 936 (Ky. 1931).

My analysis centers on whether this standard strikes a more appropriate balance between requiring a defendant using self-defense to prove he or she had no means of safe retreat (the Model Penal Code approach) and providing presumptions in the law favoring a defendant using self-defense (Kentucky's--and Florida's--current approach in the Stand Your Ground statutes).

I was so excited when I learned that I was the winner of this prestigious award.